Back to School By-the-Numbers

We do the math on the cost of going back to school.
This story first appeared in the September 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
From kindergartners to grad students, roughly 76 million Americans are heading back to the classroom this month--but not before they hit the mall. According to the National Retail Federation, parents shell out a whopping $54.1 billion on back-to-school gear, making it a retail season second only to Christmas. The economic downturn has taken a bite out of that apple, but deep discounts and tax holidays may give this season a boost. We'll do the math:

1%-How much retail sales are expected to grow during the 2009 back-to-school season

$3.7 billion-How much parents will spend on new school shoes

$594.24- The average amount spent on back-to-school stuff for each child

3,800,000,000- The number of wooden pencils sold per year

$11.60 per hour- How much the lunch lady takes home (plus Sloppy Joes)

25%- Percentage of college students majoring in business, despite it all

$50,758- The average teacher's salary in the U.S.

15- The number of states offering back-to-school sales tax holidays
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